I-9 and W-4 Walkthrough

Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9)

The Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9) is a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) document used to verify your identity and ability to legally work in the United States. You can find the official instructions here.

Section 1 Employee Information and Attestation: You complete this part

  1. Personal information
    • Your legal last (family) name
      • If you have two last names or a hyphenated last name, include both names in the Last Name field
      • If you have only one name, enter it in the Last Name field and write “Unknown” in the First Name field
    • Your legal first (given) name (if you have only one name, enter it in the Last Name field and write “Unknown” in the First Name field)
    • Your legal middle initial: The first letter of your second given name or middle name (if you do not have a middle name, enter “N/A”)
    • Other last names, if any: Any other legal last (family) names you have used
      • If you have legally changed your last name, enter your former name(s) here
      • If you haven’t used any other last names, enter “N/A”
    • Your current home address
    • Your date of birth (format: 2-digit month, 2-digit day, 4-digit year)
    • Your U.S. Social Security Number
    • Your email address and phone number
  2. Attestation: Choose your citizenship category and enter any other requested information related to your selection
    • Citizen of the U.S.: You were born in the U.S. or are a naturalized U.S. citizen
    • Noncitizen national of the U.S.: You were born in an outlying U.S. possession (American Samoa or Swains Island) and are not a naturalized U.S. citizen, or are the child of a non-naturalized noncitizen national
    • Lawful permanent resident: You have been granted permanent resident status in the U.S. and have (or are waiting for) a “Green Card” (Permanent Resident Card/Alien Registration Receipt Card)
    • Alien authorized to work: You are not a member of the other citizenship categories, but are allowed to work in the U.S.
  3. Sign and date the form

Section 2: Employer Review and Verification: Your employer completes this part, but you need to physically show your employer (either in person or online) valid documentation from the lists below

  1. List A (identity and work authorization) – If you have a current (not expired) document from the list below, you will only need to show that one form of ID
    • S. passport (book or card)
    • Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card (“Green Card”)
    • Foreign passport with an I-551 stamp or machine-readable immigrant visa (MRIV)
    • Employment Authorization Document (EAD) containing a photograph (Form I-766)
    • Passport from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) or the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) with Form I-94 or I-94A (Arrival/Departure Record)
    • Receipt to replace one of the above documents (except a U.S. passport) that has been lost, stolen, or damaged
  2. If you don’t have one of the documents from List A, you will need to show two different forms of ID, one from List B and one from List C
    • List B (identity):
      • State- or Canadian-issued driver’s license or ID card
      • School ID card with photo
      • Military dependent ID card
      • Native American tribal document
      • School record or report card for people under the age of 18 (if you don’t have one of the other documents above)
      • Receipt to replace one of the above documents that has been lost, stolen, or damaged
    • List C (work authorization):
      • Social Security card (unrestricted)
      • S. birth certificate (original or certified copy ONLY; it will usually have an embossed seal)
      • For U.S. citizens born abroad: Certification of Birth Abroad, Certification of Report of Birth, or Consular Report of Birth Abroad
      • Native American tribal document
      • Receipt to replace one of the above documents that has been lost, stolen, or damaged

Employee’s Withholding Certificate (W-4)

The Employee’s Withholding Certificate (W-4) is an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) document that includes all the information your employer needs to withhold the correct amount of taxes from your paycheck each month and fill out your tax documents each year. The official instructions begin on page 2 of the form.

Step 1: Enter Personal Information

    1. Your legal first name, middle initial, and last name; your current home address, city, state, and zip code
    2. Your Social Security Number
    3. Your tax filing status: select whether you are (1) single or married filing separately, (2) married filing jointly, or (3) head of household (that means you’re unmarried and pay more than half of your expenses and those of another person)

Step 2: Multiple Jobs or Spouse Works: You only need to worry about this step if you have more than one job or selected “married filing jointly” in Step 1. The form gives you three options on how to proceed:

    1. Use the withholding estimator tool at irs.gov/W4App to complete Steps 3 and 4
    2. Use the “Multiple Jobs” worksheet (page 3 of the form) to determine what you should enter in Step 4(c)
    3. If you only have two jobs total and both jobs pay you roughly the same amount, you can check the box. If you check the box and actually make more at one of the jobs than the other, however, you may have more taxes withheld from your paycheck each month

Step 3: Claim Dependents: You only need to fill out this section if you can claim dependents on your taxes. Dependents are your own children or other qualifying relatives for whom you provide at least half of their living expenses for half of the year or more.

Step 4 (optional): Other Adjustments: You only need to complete this section if you would like your employer to withhold more than the standard tax percentage from your paycheck each month. People sometimes ask their employers to withhold extra money now so they won’t have to pay the government when they file their taxes at the end of the year.

Step 5: Sign Here: Sign and date the form

Note: The very last line of the W-4 form is for your employer to complete, so that should be left blank.